The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest tropical rainforest. It extends from northwestern Brazil to Colombia, Peru and some other South American countries. The Amazon rainforest is known for its biodiversity. It is also famous for its many rivers, including the mighty Amazon.
The Amazon is 6.9 million square kilometres (2.72 million square miles) which is more than the size of the forty-eight United states! Most of this expanse, almost two-third, is located in Brazil. Followed by Peru with about 13%, then Colombia with about 10%. Minor amounts are found in Bolivia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela. The Amazon River, I’m sure you know, is the world’s largest river by volume.
The River’s expanse contains five times and more the importance of the Congo and twelve times that of Mississippi. It has been estimated that the Amazon is home to more than 30 million people with ethnic groups of about 350. These ethnic groups are further grouped into nine different national political systems, and 3,344 acknowledged indigenous territories.
Also, the Amazon, as of 2020, has about 526 million hectares of primary forest. This is nearly 84% of the region’s 629 million hectares of total tree cover. In contrast, the Congo Basin has about 168 million hectares of primary forest and 288 million hectares of tree cover. The tropical areas of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, and Australia combined have One hundred twenty million hectares of primary forest and 216 million hectares of tree cover. The Amazon is as old as 55 million years.
Moreover, most of its regions are still free of savanna-type biomes, at least until now when the climate was drier and savanna more widespread. Brazil’s Manaus, Belém, Peru’s Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado is a river town with 19th-century architecture from rubber-boom days.
The Amazon Biodiversity
- 40,000 plant species
- 16,000 tree species
- 3,000 fish species
- 1,300 birds
- 430 (and more)mammals
- 1,000(and more) amphibians
- 400(and more) reptiles
- 2,500(and more) insects.
The Amazon Experience
Puerto Maldonado, Peru
In a very new section of the rainforest lies Puerto Maldonado. Puerto Maldonado is located near the Manú National Park, Tambopata National Reserve, and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. In addition, this place provides a unique lodge-based experience and is famous for its clay leks (clay patches where macaws and cocks of the rock gather) and enchanting U-shaped oxbow lakes. Also see Nyungwe National Park, the oldest and well preserved rainforest in Central Africa.
With a short flight from Lima or Cusco, you can access Puerto Maldonado, making it an excellent addition to any Machu Picchu itinerary. Indeed, it has a variety of charming lodges one can choose from. Be sure to enjoy your nights.
In the thick of the forest, conveniently situated near the town, is Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion. An eco-luxury lodge. Inkatera Reserva Amazonica, the sister lodge, is slightly more luxurious and a down-river option. But if you’re looking for a more remote place, then Refugio Amazonas or Posadas Amazonas lodges might be the place for you. Furthermore, the Tambopata Research Center offers an exclusive experience suitable for an extended vacation. Your best reservation option in the Amazon rainforest Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion.
Well, what do you say about a floating air-conditioned hotel! It doesn’t get anymore better, floating down a mile-wide river. Iquitos allows you to see pink river dolphins and manatees in addition to birds and mammals when reached by air from Lima. Going in a smaller vessel will enable you to visit indigenous villages, as well as a chance to explore the forest’s diverse wildlife. Also see Africa’s largest game reserve, Kruger National Park.
Exclusive cruises include
- Delfin I, II or III.
- Aria Amazon or
- The latest Aqua Nera, which started operating in July 2021.
Manaus is situated in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest. It can be reached by air from Rio (4 hours) or Miami (5.5 hours). Manaus is a remote region that offers you an authentic experience. An opportunity to visit indigenous villages and explore the Teatro Amazonas (an iconic 19-century opera theatre) built from the proceeds of the rubber boom. Thus, if your timing is right, you might catch a show or two! Manaus offers wonderful lodge and cruise options.
- EcoPark Lodge is a lodge option that provides you with comfort, exciting excursions such as nighttime canoe tours.
- Anavilhanas is an exclusive jungle lodge option that provides you with cosy rooms.
For cruises, you can book a cruise on:
- The Amazon Clipper
- MV Premium
Although, these cruises are not as luxurious as the Iquitos cruises, but they sure are memorable.
The city of Coca is located at the junction of the Coca and the Napo River in Ecuador. It is a one hour flight from Quito. Coca is a good base from which to explore the Yasuni National Park. Also, you can visit Monkey island, enjoy a cruise or explore the excellent MACCO archaeological museum. Indeed, this region has incredible ecolodges, such as:
Moreover, these lodges offer you a home where you can relax and recharge. Enjoy your trip to Coca with a Galapagos cruise trip for the adventure of a lifetime.
Best time to visit the Amazon rainforest
Although, you can visit the Amazon rainforest any time throughout the year. Rainfall is typical in the area; no wonder it’s called rainforest. However, the best time to visit varies slightly depending on which country you choose to go to. So, two seasons generally govern the Amazon basin.
The high-water season is characterised by showers on and off throughout the day. It lasts from January to June. During the high-water season, the rivers will be higher. This ensures better accessibility and navigation by boat. The temperatures are usually cooler during this season and, therefore, more mosquitos, so get a strong repellent.
Unlike the high-water season, during the low-water season, there are lower rivers and less rainfall. Even though heavy showers occur sometimes, this affects river accessibility and navigation. But walking trails have become more accessible for hiking. Indeed, it becomes even easier to spot wildlife such as caimans and birds. Plus minimal mosquitos. Thus, choose wisely.
Best Amazon River Cruises
- The Remote Amazon Tour
- Machu Picchu & the Amazon Jungle Tour
- Amazon, Pantanal & Iguazu Falls Tour
- Wild Guyana
- Rio de Janeiro & the Amazon Rainforest Tour
- Tambopata Research Center Amazon Lodge & Machu Picchu Tour.
Packing List for an Amazon Tour
- Footwear: it is necessary to come along with solid footwear. This will provide you with comfort,
- Thick Socks: get a couple of thick wool socks. This will keep moisture away from your feet while trekking through the jungle.
- Headwear: a hat or cap will keep the sun out.
- Swimsuit: want to go swimming? You can’t without a suit! So get a case.
- Backpack: a waterproof, sturdy bag is essential. So you can carry your camera, water bottle, binoculars, and so on while exploring.
- Flashlight and Batteries: bring a flashlight and plenty of batteries. A headlamp also, to keep your hands free. In the event of a power outage or night walk, it comes handy.
- Insect Repellent: if you still want to retain your body, not have bumps all over, and fall sick, get yourself an insect repellent. It should be at a minimum of 20% DEET.
- Bring your binoculars: so you can spot jungle animals from a far distance.
- Wet wipes and hand sanitizer
- First Aid Kit: some pain medication, bandages, blister covers, and so on will be nice to have on the trip.
- Wristwatch: To keep track of the time. So you won’t be late for any activity also.
- Camera and extra memory card: so you can take as many photos as you want.
- Toiletries and Medicine: get your toiletries and Medicine so you can feel comfortable. Things like toothpaste, toothbrush, lotions, hairbrush, allergy medicine, antacids, etc., should not be missing.